Industry leader says milk protein ingredients will take on bigger roles in consumers’ healthy, active lifestyles
Each year, there’s an ingredient category that seems to explode with popularity as insiders and consumers learn more about its advantages. In 2017, the demand will be for milk protein ingredients. “Awareness of milk protein’s benefits is definitely on the upswing,” confirms Milk Specialties Global Senior Director of Business Development Dustin Cosgrove. “We are already seeing an increase in demand for milk protein from our customers. This is making it easier for consumers to find products made with milk protein. When consumers discover these products deliver on demand, it will further drive up sales.”
Protein confusion: Whey … milk … what’s the difference?
“We need more education. Many people, including some in the food industry, still don’t understand the differences between whey and milk proteins,” Cosgrove acknowledges. “Once you know what makes each unique, it’s easier to see their tremendous potential. Milk proteins and whey/milk protein blends are very versatile.”
In basic terms:
• Milk protein: The milk protein concentrate and isolate come straight from milk. The proteins are filtered away from most of the sugars and minerals, and then dried. Milk protein contains 80, 85 or 90 percent casein. It digests slowly.
• Whey protein: Whey is the byproduct of cheese manufacture. Milk is first sent to a cheese manufacturer, where the casein is turned into cheese, and separated from the whey. Whey is then filtered to remove most of the sugar and minerals, and is concentrated up to 80 or 90 percent to produce whey isolates. It digests more quickly.
Milk proteins have unique benefits for formulators and consumers
What makes milk protein ingredients so special? As an industry leader in milk and whey proteins, Milk Specialties Global is focused heavily on educating its customers about how to use these ingredients to create best-in-class products. Cosgrove outlines four of the biggest advantages.
• Sustained satiety. “The casein in milk protein digests as much as 33 percent more slowly than other protein options. This makes it very appealing for weight management products and satiety products such as ready-to-drink shakes and meal replacement bars.”
• All nine essential amino acids. “Milk protein contains all nine amino acids – histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine and valine – which the body needs to build healthy muscles. It is an ideal ingredient for sports nutrition powders and compounds.”
• Milk protein is heat stable. “From a functional perspective, milk protein is more heat stable than whey protein. Heat-stable whey protein is available, but only as a specialty product.”
• Great taste. “Many people prefer milk protein’s flavor and mouth feel. Because it is produced from filtered milk, there’s less processing needed to remove sugar and minerals. This leaves a superior fresh, clean taste. Customers also like it because it provides a thicker milk shake consistency in ready-to-drink beverages, for example.”
Cosgrove emphasizes that the casein in milk protein ingredients is responsible for its sustained release/satiety benefit. “Consumers may not realize that milk protein is driving a product’s ability to improve satiety. Staying fuller, longer, is not a new concept. What’s different is that milk protein ingredients provide the preferred mouthfeel and taste components.”
Repeat sales will multiply as milk protein gains mass appeal
Successful use of milk protein ingredients begins with understanding the consumer market so you can formulate with the right proteins to achieve the right benefit.
To that end, Milk Specialties currently produces a variety of milk protein ingredients with MPC, MPI and micellar casein, as well as milk protein available rBGH free, organic, non-GMO, instatized, low-grit and MPI lactose free.
“We’re also seeing more customers launching products with blends of whey and milk proteins, designed for specific applications,” says Cosgrove. “We can advise you on the best ingredient(s) to use for your end-consumers’ intended purpose. For example, someone might choose a product with milk protein in the morning so they aren’t hungry again by 10 a.m., while someone interested in muscle gain might choose a product made with whey protein after workouts and milk protein before bed.”
“In addition to satiety, milk proteins also lend themselves to products targeting weight management and an overall healthy lifestyle,” adds Cosgrove. “Now is the time to start preparing 2018 ‘new year/new you’ products. Dairy proteins are in their infancy. This category is poised to increase substantially over the next year. It’s smart to start thinking now about how you plan to capitalize on milk protein’s versatility and other advantages.”